Though there has been speculation for awhile now regarding the decline of Yahoo, most of the online world remained in the dark about any dire details until recently. It was only two days ago that Yahoo told Reuters that they had begun the layoff of around 600 employees. The news was somewhat stunning. After all, this is the information era, when everyone lives online. Mark Zuckerberg was just named Person of the Year by Time Magazine. Yet here we are, facing the potential downfall of one of the biggest online organizations. How is this possible?
Perhaps Carol Bartz, the CEO of Yahoo, said it best. In a memo sent out to Yahoo employees (“Yahoos”, as Bartz affectionately calls them), Bartz writes:
“There are several reasons for this. First, we’ve found a lot of duplication in work between Products and the regions. Second, it’s no secret that we’re cutting investment in underperforming and non-core products so we can focus on our strengths (like email, the homepage, search, mobile, advertising, content and more). And lastly, we need to get the Products cost-structure in order so it aligns with our development plans for next year and beyond.”
It isn’t atypical for a business to try and streamline operations. It just isn’t something that we typically see during an industry boom.
As if the initial announcement by Yahoo on Tuesday wasn’t enough, we are now beginning to see some aftershocks…the ripple effect, as information spreads. Earlier this afternoon, a slide was leaked via Twitter, showing Yahoo’s plans for a number of features.
The source, Eric Marcoullier, just happens to be the co-founder of MyBlogLog, one of the features slated to be discontinued by Yahoo. Among the other features approaching “sunset” are Altavista, Yahoo Bookmarks, Yahoo Buzz and Delicious. Other features, such as Babelfish, Yahoo Calendar and Yahoo Alerts are set to be made featured. I doubt that I’m the only one to notice that these are the same type of features currently spotlighted by Google, Yahoo’s main competition.
So, what does this mean for the rest of us? Apart from the fact that we should probably export our bookmarks, I mean. Is this merely business as usual? Is it a sign of industry change? Is it perhaps a result of the near-monopoly that Facebook has on social media, replacing the need for many of the traditional services provided by Yahoo? Or is this evidence of growth, as a company’s vision and efforts become more focused? What do you think?
Edit: As of 5:15, all of the sites appear to be functioning normally.
Edit: As of 4:48pm, MyBlogLog is down. It is unclear whether this is related to the leaked slide or Yahoo’s announcement. altavista.com is also down, while Delicious.com remains functional.